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O-ED: Honor the fallen by donating

Dawn Burleigh,
General Manager/Editor

This Memorial Day weekend as we start new traditions in honoring those who gave all while serving our country, consider donating blood.

I came across a Facebook post I made two years ago asking people to consider making a donation because my mom had just received two units because her count was too low. At the time there was an emergency shortage of blood and that was before COVID. The struggle to keep the blood banks full is ongoing and the COVID Crisis hurt the amount on hand. Less people donated because less people were out.

But there were still people like my mom who are in need of blood. In Mom’s case, she has since passed due to other issues. But what if she did need one more unit and it was just not there? What if it was your mother? Father? Sister? Brother? Significant other?

I again am asking three things of you this year:

  1. Don’t drink and drive, period. The life you save could be your own or someone you love. But, the blood used to attempt to save your life could be needed by someone with a medical condition.
  2. Please, donate blood this week. I understand not everyone is eligible, but if you are, do! You never know whose life you could be saving; it could be your loved one.
  3. Be careful on the roads, not all wrecks are caused by drunk drivers. There are distracted drivers, tired drivers, inexperienced drivers.

In Texas, 3,893 people were killed in automobile crashes during 2020, up from 3,623 deaths in 2019. That increase occurred even though traffic volumes were about 50% below normal for several months of the year, according to the Texas Department of Transportation. The numbers were up despite the #EndTheStreakTX campaign.

It is the end of May and the number is close to bypassing last year’s fatalities at 3,642 fatal car wrecks in 2021 in Texas.

 

A History on Memorial Day

Memorial Day is an American holiday, observed on the last Monday of May, honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Think of them as you make a donation of blood.

Each year on Memorial Day a national moment of remembrance takes place at 3:00 p.m. local time, according to https://www.history.com/

Originally referred to as Decoration Day, on May 5, 1868, General John A. Logan, leader of an organization for Northern Civil War veterans, called for a nationwide day of remembrance later that month.

“The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land,” he proclaimed.

The date of Decoration Day, as he called it, was chosen because it wasn’t the anniversary of any particular battle.

For decades, Memorial Day continued to be observed on May 30, the date General Logan had selected for the first Decoration Day. But in 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which established Memorial Day as the last Monday in May in order to create a three-day weekend for federal employees. The change went into effect in 1971. The same law also declared Memorial Day a federal holiday.

 

Dawn Burleigh is general manager and editor of The Orange Leader. She can be reached at dawn.burleigh@orangeleader.com